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Showing posts from February, 2015

The Challenge of The London Challenge for Scotland

This week Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, announced that in the future all Scottish headteachers will be required to be qualified to Masters level before they take up post. She made this announcement not in Scotland, but down in England, and particularly London where she has been very impressed by the results of the London Challenge initiative introduced by Tony Blair's Government in 2003. There is no doubt that Nicola is committed to closing the attainment gap that exists, and which is growing, between learners affected by poverty and those more advantaged in Scotland. This has been described as a national disgrace, and needs addressing by all levels of society, but particularly by our education system which can have the most impact on closing this gap. I applaud our First Minister's determination to do something about this, but I do have some questions to ask about the particular path she has chosen to address the issue. Is the London Challenge a suitable model…

Two More Professional Development Opportunities 2/2

My last post was about a recent professional development event with Sir John Jones and this one is about my attendance at the Aberdeen Learning Festival to hear from and work with Alma Harris. I found both of these speakers inspiring but for different reasons. 
Alma is the Professorr of Educational Leadership at the Institute of Education, London. She is currently working at the Univerity of Malaya, Malaysia, where she is Professor and Director of the Institute of Educational Leadership. She is currently undertaking and leading a major research project looking at 7 different education systems worldwide. She has been in Scotland a number of times recently and was the keynote speaker at the Scottish Learning Festival, held in September in Glasgow. She was in Aberdeen to give a keynote at their learning festival, and then to have a 'closed door' session for future leaders which I was helping to facilitate on behalf of the Scottish College for Educational Leadership. (SCEL)
In her k…

Two More Professional Development Opportunities 1/2

In September last year I wrote two posts about two different experiences I had at a couple of professional development meetings, 'Professional Development: A Tale of Two Meetings' (12/09/14 and 13/09/14), and two very different experiences. I have just had two more experiences and found both of these inspirational, but through two completely different approaches.
The first was with Sir John Jones and happened in the Borders, where I work. Sir John Received his knighthood for services to education and through his leadership of schools in some very challenging circumstances in Liverpool and the North West of England. He has also been a member of various national leadership bodies in England, including the being on the board of the National College for Educational Leadership, and has worked for a number of universities. In short, he has immense credibility as a school leader. But he is more than that, because he is also an inspirational speaker who believes in the moral imperative…

Headteachers and System Leadership

For a number of years now educational systems around the world have been identifying how headteachers and school leaders can contribute to the development of 'a self-improving school system' as described by by David Hargreaves in a paper for the English National College for Educational Leadership in 2010.  Like schools, systems need to be adaptive and self-sustaining and to achieve this it is crucial that the experience and expertise of headteachers is tapped into  in order to support colleagues, other schools and, most importantly in my eyes, challenge the status quo. System leadership is about collaborating and identifying a variety of roles and ways that headteachers can contribute to this on-going process of self-evaluation, self-repair and self-development.  
A variety of models have been put forward as to how headteachers might fulfil this system leadership role and I want to consider some of these in this post. The English College fo Educational Leadership  identified fo…

So you want to enquire into your practice?

So,you want to enquire into your practice? What are the  possible benefits and what are the possible issues you need to consider? The following is based on you understanding practitioner enquiry, and what it entails, thoroughly and you have apply these properly. The schools I lead are into our fifth year of such a process.
Benefits? Raised attainment and achievement for all learners. I don't know about you, but this is the first requirement I have for all developments. Deeper understanding of learning for teachers. They better understand learning, their impact on this, and how to deconstruct learning to aid all their learners. Leads to critically informed teaching. Teachers use data and research to inform their teaching and to critically reflect on their practice. Teacher confidence improves. As their knowledge and understanding develops, and they better understand how to address gaps in pupil learning, they gain confidence in heir ability to meet the learning needs of all pupils. Teach…

Closing The Attainment Gap In Scotland

At our most recent Scottish College for Educational Leadership Fellowship programme meeting we had the privilege of listening to, and speaking with, Sue Ellis from Strathclde University. Sue and Edward Sosu had recently co-authored a report 'Closing The attainment Gap In Scottish Education' for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Sue started by telling us that attainment is still too closely linked to parental wealth in Scotland and noting how all in the system had a responsibility to address this. If we didn't we were letting down the children who were blighted by the continuation of this situation and ultimately the country, as these very same children were going to help shape our country in the future. The gap in attainment for those children from the poorest households in society compared to those from the most wealthy, starts before children enter the education system, grows as they move through primary education, and becomes even greater in their secondary education care…